NEWCASTLE, Australia (AP) — Karmichael Hunt has been ruled out of Australia's opening Bledisloe Cup tests after undergoing ankle surgery.

Hunt, who played rugby league for Australia and had a stint in the Australian rules Australian Football League before converting to rugby union, made his test debut for the Wallabies last month and was one of the best players in a June series against Fiji, Italy and Scotland.

Hunt was absent when the extended Wallabies squad gathered in Newcastle, north of Sydney, on Monday to build up for the two tests against New Zealand in August. Coach Michael Cheika confirmed the 30-year-old utility back was expected to be sidelined for 6-8 weeks.

"He ended up having a small operation on a syndesmosis injury so he's got nothing doing for the first 10 days and then we'll start working on him and his fitness level so as soon as he's ready to go he's straight back in," Cheika said. "Obviously he's very disappointed but there's nothing you can do about it."

Hunt's injury leaves the inside center spot open, with recalled Kurtley Beale and Reece Hodge expected to be the main contenders for the No. 12 jersey on Aug. 19 against the All Blacks.